Business/industry trustees need revamp; Facts and fables


Editorials and other Opinion content offer perspectives on issues important to our community and are independent from the work of our newsroom reporters.

Business/industry trustees need revamp

Each May, two business/industry representatives are elected to our board. A five-person selection committee is appointed by the board chair to manage the process. The selection committee is comprised of three seated business/industry trustees and two other seated trustees. All trustees may submit nominations to the selection committee and the selection committee “may cultivate additional candidates.” (The slate is confidential). The overall board then chooses the two candidates. (See BOT Standing Order II). This appears to be a classic example of in-breeding. And how is it working?

We have many world-class industries with HQ in PA. Like Armstrong, Alcoa, Air-Products, Comcast, Hershey, Highmark, Kraft, PPG, PPL, US Steel and WESCO with upward of 400,000 employees. One might expect some board representation from these or similar PA-based companies. No, the current business/industry trustees consist of three representatives from real estate firms, one from direct-mail marketing, one lawyer (and one vacancy).

Here is a recommendation to our selection committee. Look in your own backyard. We have at least 100 outstanding leaders from business and industry who currently serve on our College of Business and Engineering advisory boards (many of which are PSU alums.). These men and women all help manage complex organizations like PSU. Currently, here are some of the companies represented: Amazon, Boeing, Dell, Disney, Exxon-Mobil, Facebook, General Motors, Google, IBM, Marriott, Merck, Oracle, Pratt-Whitney, Prudential, UPS and Walmart. Pennsylvanians would surely welcome companies like this joining our board.

Allen Soyster, Boalsburg

Facts and fables

When I was a child, I first encountered Aesop’s Fables, a collection of stories about animals that exhibited human characteristics. Most of us know of the story of the industrious ant contrasted with the lazy grasshopper that illustrated the importance of thinking ahead and working toward a goal.

Recently, it has become apparent that some people are reviving the concept of fables for political reasons. They are using fables to represent facts rather than adages.

Separating fact from fiction is not always easy but is possible in most cases. The stealing of the election is a good one to examine as there are ample accusations that have been spread by people such as Mike Lindell “the My Pillow guy.” He has claimed there is plenty of evidence. Where is it? At least 50 cases that have gone to courts around the country have been thrown out by judges appointed by both parties, before any trials were actually held due to lack of evidence. Seems pretty easy to me to determine what is or isn’t factual.

Watching the various accusations against former president Trump pile up is like addressing a calculus problem. How close to being tried for his actions, legal or otherwise, have to come to light before he is brought to trial. Apparently, by hiring lawyers by the bunch, you can continually delay what appears to be inevitable.

One of the cornerstones of American democracy is to have informed citizens. Are you willing to be one of them?

Lew Rodick, Centre Hall

BOT candidates’ priorities will have impact

I’m looking forward to new viewpoints on the board of trustees and have cast my vote for Penn State Forward candidates Farnaz Farhi, Edward Smith and Christa Hasenkopf. Their platform and priorities focus on giving a voice to all students and alumni, but also consider Penn State’s larger responsibilities to the commonwealth. Specifically, as a land grant institution, Penn State has an obligation to be a leader in fighting climate change through reducing waste, lowering carbon emissions, educating students and growing agriculture sustainably, which has a potential ripple effect on everyone in the state. Although we are already a national leader in sustainability among universities, the board of trustees has the influence and authority to bring together individual student organizations’, departments’ and offices’ goals and address climate change in a more holistic way, which is simply not a priority I see from other candidates.

Penn State Forward’s candidates’ goals of carbon neutrality, fossil fuel divestment and collaboration with other universities in PA on climate align with those of many students, staff and alumni. If you’d like to see the board of trustees tackle climate change in a real and impactful way, please vote for the Penn State Forward candidates by May 5. You can read more about each candidate and their very detailed platform at

Dina M Liberatore, State College